The arrival of the 2013 “Backyard Biosecurity” calendar from the USDA (instructions for ordering a free one are here), and the issues my Farm Chick friend has been facing with bird disease made me think that it was a good time to remind everyone with backyard birds – they need to be PROTECTED. It’s so easy to think that it won’t happen to you and let up your guard, but disease can be brought in many ways and can destroy your flock. We learned the hard way several years ago when we brought in two barred rocks from a ”reputable” source. The birds brought Infectious Bronchitis (see story here) with them and our flock had [...]
Continue reading Protect Your Birds!
To help educate backyard poultry owner’s about infectious poultry diseases and protect their birds, the United States Department of Agriculture is again offering a free calendar for 2013, called: Backyard Biosecurity: Keeping Your Birds Healthy.
The calendar features full-color photos of birds like the one shown below, and can be ordered at: https://web01.aphis.usda.gov/PRTDIST/WebOrder/WOEIS.nsf You can order up to two per individual address, and it always takes awhile for mine to get here – they say to allow six to eight weeks for delivery.
The USDA is getting the calendar out late this year, but it offers good advice on biosecurity that’s [...]
Continue reading Free 2013 Bird Calendar
Every year, as the weather turns cold, my husband starts closing down the windows of the chicken coop. He means well, but every year I go through an explanation of why it’s very important to keep the chicken coop well ventilated, and why it’s even more important in cold weather. Chickens generate a lot of moisture, ammonia, and heat – so it’s absolutely critical to ventilate well to remove the excess from the coop. The more time your chickens spend indoors, the more important it is to supply good ventilation.
Why Coops Need Ventilation
Chickens generate lots of water vapor, from both [...]
Continue reading Keep Coops Ventilated – Especially in Cold Weather!
I can remember when you went to your local feed & seed supply store to buy garden seeds; and your choices were limited to a few – how things have changed! Today there are numerous seed catalogs available with hundreds of offerings, and you can also order from thousands of varieties online – but the choices can be confusing. What’s the difference between GE, GMO, OP, Heirloom, Hybrid, Organic, Pelleted, and Treated seed? Here’s the explanation:
OP (Open Pollinated) – open pollinated seeds are those that are produced by pollination from wind, insects, or self-pollination. You can save seed from open-pollinated varieties and [...]
Continue reading Garden Seeds – GMO, GE, OP, Heirloom, Hybrid – What’s It All Mean?
To help educate backyard poultry owner’s about infectious poultry diseases and protect their birds, the United States Department of Agriculture is again offering a free calendar for 2012, called: Backyard Biosecurity: Keeping Your Birds Healthy. The calendar features full-color photos of birds like the one shown below, and can be ordered at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/birdbiosecurity/s: You can order up to two per individual address, and it always takes awhile for mine to get here so I recommend you send for it now – they say to allow six to eight weeks for delivery.
Ultimately, the reason most folks have dairy goats is because they want the milk; and for this the does need to be bred and have
kids. Standard size does can generally be bred after they reach 80 lbs. or seven months of age; but breeders often wait until does are older for miniature breeds like Nigerian Dwarves. In our case, we’ve waited until the does are 1 ½ years old (Honey and Tinker Bell) and 1 ¼ years old (Jewel); both because we wanted springtime kids and we’re sure the does are mature enough now.
We don’t own a buck, so it’s important to [...]
Continue reading Goat Kids – Preparing for Breeding
We enjoy peppers that have ripened to the yellow or red stage rather than eating them green; however, getting peppers to ripen that far in Ohio’s short summers can be challenging. This year, I’d originally planned to grow Red Knight hybrid and Quadrato D’asti Rosso peppers in the garden (see Vegetables for the 2011 garden); but, my first sowing of peppers indoors didn’t make it - so I had to quickly replant with alternatives.
We ended up growing Golden California Wonder for yellow peppers and King Arthur hybrid for red peppers; and, have had a great crop of both ripening for the last several weeks. I’d like to say it was my [...]
Continue reading 2011 Garden Results – Sweet Peppers
Abscess Before Testing – Right Shoulder
One of our Nigerian Dwarf goats, Honey, recently developed an abscess on her shoulder, causing us to worry that it might be CL. Although she’d tested negative for CL prior to coming to Bramblestone; and the herd she came from tested negative, we were afraid that she’d somehow contracted the disease. Our goat herd is closed, so the possibility of contracting CL seemed remote; until I learned deer also carry the disease (so she could have caught it from wild deer) – then I suddenly did a lot of research on CL.
Continue reading Caseous Lymphadentitis (CL) in Goats
There are three types of injections that goats in our area need annually; tetanus toxoid, BoSe, and a vaccination for enterotoxemia. Since Tinker Bell and Honey are now over a year old, it’s time to give them these yearly shots; and I thought that’d be relatively simple. But, it wasn’t quite that easy – here’s what I learned (skip to the last paragraph if you don’t want to know all the details on drugs for food producing animals):
1) First of all, what do these vaccinations prevent?
Tetanus toxoid – provides long term protection against tetanus (deadly if untreated) which is [...]
Continue reading Annual CD/T & BoSe Injections for Goats
In the US today, we’re being offered more and more choices in food quality; and it’s because many of us are demanding locally grown foods that are antibiotic, hormone, and pesticide free. In terms of eggs quality, it’s not clear sometimes what the choices mean – here’s a rundown on the different types of eggs:
Commercial or “Factory Farmed” Eggs
These are the standard grocery store eggs; and unfortunately, the “farms” that produce these eggs are typically poultry houses where the hens are housed indoors in tiny metal cages. They’re routinely debeaked (part of their beaks are cut [...]
Continue reading Choices in Egg Quality
It’s time to process the 11 Buckeye roosters that didn’t make the cut; and although that’s not exactly pleasant, I’m expecting big things from the meals they’ll be featured in. That’s because heritage birds like the Buckeyes have something that today’s supermarket birds don’t – they have flavor.
The commercial chickens grown for meat today have been bred to reach a marketable size in confined space within 9 weeks, thereby maximizing throughput and minimizing costs. If these birds are kept for more than 9 weeks, losses from disease and health issues are high – they have simply been bred for fast [...]
Continue reading Heritage Birds for Real Chicken Flavor
Now that the chickens and goats are here, we have one of the main ingredients for growing great produce. Composted animal bedding makes an incredible difference in garden productivity, especially since I prefer to fertilize naturally rather than chemically. I learned about natural vegetable production early – it was the way my grandfather, who’d grown up farming, raised vegetables to feed us.
Annually, grandpa grew a bountiful garden that provided the families produce all year long. He started by adding composted horse manure from the neighbor’s stable to the same sunny patch of land each year. Then he’d plant his favorite [...]
Continue reading Garden Gold
Right now, it’s very important to focus energy on cleaning up the vegetable garden. I wish that all my cleanup chores were done; but I’m still working on it because I know a few hours of work now will make a huge difference in next year’s garden.
It’s most important to remove and destroy (not compost) all the remains from this year’s vegetable plants because many vegetable pests survive from year to year on old plant debris. This will help prevent insect and disease problems from starting next spring and summer.
After getting all the plant debris removed from the garden, I like to get a good layer of leaves [...]
Continue reading Fall Garden Cleanup
In addition to practicing Biosecurity to protect chickens from disease, vaccination is an effective way to prevent or reduce specific diseases in poultry. Since we’ve had issues with Infectious Bronchitis (IB) in the past and it’s extremely contagious for poultry, we decided to vaccinate our chickens against it. Although we plan to maintain a small-closed flock thereby minimizing possible exposure, IB can “jump” relatively large distances, so we decided to vaccinate anyway. Anyone who takes birds to poultry shows, or buys from hatcheries or other sources and adds them to the flock; should definitely consider vaccinating for this and other common diseases. [...]
Continue reading Vaccinating Chickens Against Infectious Bronchitis/Newcastle Disease